First-time pitches to investors are rightly famous for inducing jitters.
October 25, 2016
Asheville Salesforce Innovator’s Journey, from Bootstrapping to Pitching ‘Sharks’
Cloud for Good founder presents his new startup, CRM Market, to high-profile investors at the 2016 Dreamforce conference.
These pitches usually take place early in the startup journey, but that wasn’t the case for Tal Frankfurt, an Asheville founder presenting his latest startup at the 2016 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco earlier this month.
The new venture, called CRM Market, is a spin-off from Frankfurt’s Cloud for Good, a six-year-old, bootstrapped Salesforce implementation platform for nonprofits.
When Frankfurt pitched his second startup to investors at Dreampitch, he was literally entering uncharted waters complete with a panel of notable “sharks” and thousands of attendees watching both at the event and through a live stream.
Big-wig investors will.i.am, Shahrzad Rafati, Chris Sacca and Mark Cuban sat on stage, ready to hear pitches from Frankfurt and two other founders with startups that utilize the Salesforce network.
Frankfurt’s four-minute pitch began with a spotlight on the job and revenue growth the Salesforce ecosystem has achieved.
Yet, there is still a gap between professional services and Salesforce projects, Frankfurt noted. This is why, according to a Gartner statistic he cites, more than 50 percent of these projects fail.
CRM Market is working to change this by meeting specific customer expectations effectively. The platform, which Frankfurt colloquially refers to as the “Angie’s list for the Salesforce ecosystem,” is ingrained with a sophisticated algorithm that looks at project requirements and pairs registered consultants with customers who want to plan and build projects.
To ensure trust between the two, consultants are verified by CRM Market’s “Salesforce reputation score,” a value based on sales certifications, trailhead badges, reviews and testimonials.
The startup is growing fast since its launch earlier this year. Frankfurt says happy customers are returning to use the tool for their second project and some are even demanding some additional features like better project and time management tools, and integrating artificial intelligence into CRM Market’s match algorithm. The prize money from Dreampitch would go toward hiring new team members to make these improvements happen.
Frankfurt left the judges and audience with a friendly invite to join him in “Uberizing the Salesforce ecosystem.”
The platform launched to the public in March and so far, Frankfurt is happy with what it has accomplished. He says the biggest victory is landing over 600 registered consultants that represent a range of fields, particularly in manufacturing and technology.
And CRM Market has had an impact on startup founders like Jeremy Littlejohn of RISC Networks, an Asheville-based IT analytics company.
After posting his first project on the platform, he was connected to skilled and qualified developers eager to help plan and execute the project.
“The questions that we were asked around scoping the project helped us to crystalize what we needed,” Littlejohn says. “When you don’t know what’s possible, it’s hard to determine what you want. So that expertise is critical.”
Frankfurt’s plan is to sign on more Salesforce users like Littlejohn both throughout the country and all over the world.
Cloud for Good’s quick evolution into a powerful platform for Salesforce members is proof that the same triumph is possible for CRM Market.
And the startup’s rising revenue and increasing user base, along with its confident and connected founder, are clearly driving that potential.